Over the past several years, Mitsubishi Fuso Truck of America has seen greater demand for automatic transmissions in its trucks for the U.S., according to Bob Aquaro, the company's vice president-product assurance.
However, there remains little interest in automatics elsewhere around the world.
Aquaro cited four key reasons for the popularity of automatics here:
1. Lack of drivers who can operate manual transmissions. Very few people new to driving are being taught how to drive these types of transmissions.
2. Benefits from driver comfort, productivity and retention, especially in urban operations.
3. Engineering improvements that have increased driveline life expectancy.
4. Technological advances in automatics.
"More than 80% of our Class 4 FE and FG products are sold with automatics, Aquaro said. "In some markets, like New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia and Boston, it's 100%."
Demand for automatic transmissions in MFTA's FH Class 5 trucks has been steadily growing for the past several years, he noted, and is now about evenly split at 50% automatics, 50% manuals. The Class 6 FK and FM-MR models "are still dominated by manuals, with only about 35-40% of the trucks sold with automatics, but that is slowly growing."
MFTA hasn't offered automatics in its FM-HR Class 7 trucks "but we will shortly," allowed Aquaro.